Our normal daily routine was delayed several days this week because of a pastor’s conference we were hosting in the town a half hour away from our village. We are not in charge of the conference, nor can we take credit for its founding; we simply host it for this region. I will include more news and pictures on that in an upcoming Missional Monday post, but its relevance to our week was that I was busy cooking for it for much of the past two weeks. We started our homeschooling late almost every day this week.
In spite of a late start, however, we really had a great week of school. Caleb got a lot of reinforcement in several subjects: in language arts–syllabication, alphabetization, phonics rules, trying to slant his cursive more (he really does pretty well in penmanship), capitalization, punctuation, and distinguishing between spelling words that end in -ng or -nk (he sometimes mixes those up). His reading fluency seems to be the last subject to catch up after our long break in America, but at last I am seeing it get back to normal.
In history, we finished studying ancient China. We played games with tangrams (Daddy ran that activity on his day off!), drank tea, and learned about Confucius. For science, we discussed the importance of bones and labeled some skeleton diagrams. We ate Jell-o and talked about what our bodies would be like without bones. We read verses in the Bible about how God made us and praised Him in prayer for how He “knit us together.”
In Bible we are entering the last week of Christ before His crucifixion, right about the same time we will read about Him in our history studies about Rome, and as Ben-Hur will meet Him in our read-aloud. This week we were thrilled with Ben-hur’s famous chariot race.
We practiced mixing colors in art and finished our picture study on two of Claude Monet’s paintings. We even picked up some of our memory work, which I had dropped since our trip back from America! And in Singapore math, we reviewed all of subtraction and addition, as well as practicing the concepts of direction. Funny enough, the hardest part for Caleb was remembering the difference between left and right. Math U See gave him a great foundation in subtraction and addition.
Colin skipped Thursday but had formal K4 lessons every other day. He also is learning to read, so that’s exciting! He seems to be quicker at reading, but messier in handwriting than his elder brother was at that age.
We were proud of our boys for working hard last Saturday. They went with Seth on a drizzly day to work on the fence for our church stand. Colin spent a couple of hours cleaning sprouting growths off the bottom of a tree and other similar jobs. Caleb worked at slashing and removing weeds. Seth told me they worked hard the whole time!
I still struggle to balance all of the needs of my children. Caleb and Colin, Caleb especially, take so much time with schooling, but Callie and Carson also need time as active toddlers. I want to cuddle with them, read to them, and train them as well; and I sometimes feel like I’m pushing someone who needs me away so I can pay attention to the another. Another difficulty was that Monday through Thursday were rainy and chilly, so the children couldn’t play outside until Friday.
I took some books off our children’s bookshelves that specifically related to items I wanted to start teaching Callie–numbers, alphabet, colors, and shapes–and I try to read at least one book a day to her and Carson from that stack. Often I get 2-3 in. I’m noticing improvement already in Callie’s comprehension of some of those concepts. She often wants to count objects now: “1-2-3-16-18!”
I finished reading A Biblical Home Education by Ruth Beechick. What a difference in philosophy in some areas between Beechick and my classical education model, Susan Bauer, author of The Well-Trained Mind. I have been thinking quite a lot on the purposes behind a more delayed formal education, especially in the subject of grammar. I may be writing more about that on my Trivium Tuesday posts. I find this mental quandary ironic, considering I just finished posting on what curriculum I chose for grammar for lower elementary!
As I mentioned, Seth was busy this week hosting the African Pastors’ Conference. He did a wonderful job organizing a rash of details and inviting men to come. Many of our former graduates from Limpopo Bible Institute were able to attend, and it was encouraging both to them (to hear good preaching and see their fellow classmates still trying to serve the Lord) and to us. Some other false teachers also attended, and we hope the Word will take root in their hearts.
Next week we hope that Seth will be able to go retrieve our humongous shipment that should arrive by then in Johannesburg. I am worried about his driving to Johannesburg and back by himself with all of that weight on an old truck and a trailer. He gets irresistibly sleepy on the road. Please pray for his safety on the road and safe delivery of all of our special things. The shipment includes all of our homeschooling and clothing needs for the next several years, so it is very dear!
If you are interested, head on over to my sister’s blog and check out her free Thanksgiving printables to use with your children this month as you try to emphasize a grateful spirit this month.